Janet Cramb & Company/LAER Realty Partners



Posted by Janet Cramb on 3/31/2021

Image by Tom from Shutterstock

Energy efficiency isn’t just for the inside of your home. What you plant outside can affect the bottom line inside. Choosing the right trees, grasses, and shrubs can help.

Location, location, location

Well placed trees can help to reduce your heating and cooling bills. Trees can keep your home cooler in the summer and protected and insulated in the winter. Determine where to plant the saplings so that when they mature, they shade your roof and upper rooms. Plant leafy deciduous trees to the East, West, or South sides of your home so that the shadows fall on your house. Eventually, they’ll keep you shaded in the blistering summer months. In the winter, those trees will lose their leaves allowing warmth from the sun to reach your windows through the bare branches.

When planting trees on the north or northwest side of your house, utilize evergreens as a windbreak. They’ll reduce the amount of frigid air that hits your house in the winter. Strategically planted rows can create a windbreak for an entire side of your home. Cypress, fir, or low-branch pines create great windbreaks. Be sure to account for growth when you choose a planting location, 10 to 15 feet between each tree is a good place to start.

Efficiency

If you have central air conditioning, use shrubs and bushes to shade your condensing unit. Experts estimate that a protected A/C can boost efficiency by ten percent or more. Keep your plants and shrubs about three feet away from your condensing unit so that it has proper airflow. Trim trailing vines or branches that grow close to the equipment or ventilation.

Groundcover

Replace grass with stones or a concrete slab that reflects light and heat toward your home. That will keep your home warmer in the winter months. Dark wood chips, mulch, or green groundcover help to absorb daytime heat that is then slowly released throughout the evening and overnight. This process works to keep your home cooler during the day but adds warmth to outdoor entertainment spaces in the evening.

If you’re searching for the perfect new house, let your real estate professional know about your desire for energy efficiency. They can help you find the ideal home to put your ideas into action.




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 3/17/2021

Image by Cristina Mantovani from Pixabay

Whether you’re moving into a new home or getting yours ready for the market, remodeling your kitchen can help boost your home’s value. You don’t have to invest in major remodeling projects to spruce up your kitchen. The following minor remodeling options are cost-effective ones that can give your kitchen a brand new look.

Refinishing Cupboards & Cabinets

If you have older cabinets and cupboards that look dated or flawed, refinishing them can improve the way they look. If the cabinets are in good repair, a fresh coat of paint or stain can give your kitchen a new appearance without a large price tag. Consider refinishing with a modern neutral tone or select a color that complements the surrounding elements like countertops or floors. 

New Faucet

If you’re looking for a simple way to boost your kitchen’s appearance, consider replacing an older faucet with a shiny new one. Installing a new faucet doesn’t take long, and it can help your kitchen look more up-to-date. Keep in mind that there are many spout styles and shapes to choose from, as well as a wide range of finishes, including brushed chrome and antique brass. For a cohesive look, consider updating cabinet knobs and drawer pulls to match the finish of your new faucet.

New Countertops

Adding new countertops can have a major impact on the overall appearance of your kitchen. Countertops made of affordable materials like vinyl laminate, formica, ceramic tile, or similar material can help keep replacement costs down. However, if you’re able to invest more in your project, natural stone, such as marble or quartz provide more durability and elegance. 

Energy-Efficient Appliances

If your kitchen has older appliances, consider switching to more energy-efficient models. This is an easy way to improve your kitchen’s appearance while also lowering your energy costs. Whether you go with stainless steel models for a sleek look or black or white ones for a more contemporary style, having these new appliances installed can instantly give your kitchen a fresh new look.  

New Lighting 

Adding task lighting or under-counter lights can provide much-needed illumination in prep areas while generating ambiance. You may also consider replacing older light fixtures with more modern or contemporary ones to give your kitchen a more updated look. Seek out vintage or otherwise unique hanging fixtures to add something unexpected your room.





Posted by Janet Cramb on 12/9/2020

Image by Andrey_Popov from Shutterstock

Burglary is one of the more common types of crimes in the US today. Every day, many homeowners wake up or get back from work to discover their homes robbed. Given the financial, psychological, and physical damage that can happen, protecting your home is always ideal. You don’t have to be a victim. Put a security system in place to protect your home.

A range of home security systems are available. Deciding on which one could be a daunting task. To save you time and stress, here are some tips on how to select a security monitoring system for your residence.

Survey your home.

The first thing you need to do is to survey your home and assess its security needs. Start by counting the doors, windows, and other entry points. Check the distance of the doors and windows from where you intend to install the controls. Knowing this is essential as it will help you know the coverage of the wireless system or the length of the wires needed.

Know where to place the controls.

Place the controls somewhere only you will have quick access to. Many people prefer the control pads close to the main door. But that's not a promising idea because others can easily find it. According to security experts, it is best to place the control pads in an area that guests will not have easy access. A good example is your bedroom. 

Consider the people who live with you.

If you intend to go with motion detectors, consider movement in your home during the night. If you have kids or older parents that move around at night or you have pets that pace the house at odd hours, it is highly likely that they might trigger the alarm and cause a disturbance. Triggering the alarm system that alerts the police department may cause them to respond to a false alarm from your home.

Research the Security company.

Reputation is key. Although there are security systems that you can install yourself, working with a licensed and trustworthy security company is an optimal consideration. They will recommend the perfect system for your home and even give you useful tips to protect better protect your home. 

Be sure to ask the following questions;

How long have they been operating?

What services do they offer?

Do they carry out background checks on their employees?

Do they lease or sell their security systems?

Do they offer a warranty?

Finding the perfect home security system is vital because it assures you that your home is well protected. To get more information about the types of home security systems available, and how installing one can help you gain peace of mind, ask your agent for a recommendation for a reputable security service.





Posted by Janet Cramb on 5/6/2020

Image by ZandersDirect from Pixabay

Home improvement is something we all strive for, but many of us never really follow through with completing that goal. With the hectic lives that we live, it’s hard to find time to make those important upgrades to your home. However, home improvement doesn’t always have to be hard and time-consuming.

Add Some Fresh Paint

You won’t believe the kind of impact a fresh paint job can have. In fact, new paint could be just what your home needs to really come to life. And better yet, painting a room is relatively easy and inexpensive. It can have a huge effect on the look and feel of any room in your home, so be sure to be strategic as you’re choosing colors. Adding color to your walls can give your home the “pop” you’ve been looking for. And better yet, depending on how much paint you purchase, this home improvement tactic can cost you less than $200.

Install a Stair Runner

Wooden stairs can add a nice touch to any home, but they can be very slippery and dangerous. If your kids — and even your pets — are constantly slipping on your stairs, then you may be weighing the options when it comes to installing some grip. While you could always add carpet, this can be extremely expensive and the installation process can be time-consuming (then you’ll have to deal with stains and vacuuming). One easy and cost-effective method is to add a stair runner. These come in many different shapes, styles and sizes, and these can really add a nice touch. Instead of spending over $2,000 on carpet for your stairs, you can purchase a stair runner that should cost you under $300.

Upgrade Your Dishwasher

Are you and your family using too much water? Looking for ways to save? While those 20-minute showers could be a factor, the water use issue could be due to your dishwasher—or lack thereof. To the surprise of many, dishwashers can waste hundreds of gallons of water each year. And if you’re washing by hand, that can also waste a great deal of water. By upgrading this appliance to a new Energy Star-rated dishwasher, you save more than $30 per year on energy and nearly 500 gallons of water. If you want to complete this home upgrade, it’s very easy to do yourself. Just head on over to the nearest home improvement store, purchase a dishwasher, then follow a few simple steps to install it in no time.





Posted by Janet Cramb on 10/30/2019

Not all homes have vast lawns and flower beds to add curb appeal. If your home doesn’t have a wrap-around porch or arched entry, you can still make it the more eye-catching home on the block by merely changing out the garage doors. Front-facing garage entries give you the opportunity to create a whole new look by either partial or complete makeovers.

Garage door hacks

  • Hardware. Simple adding new equipment to your garage door can give it faux carriage-house looks. Add faux carriage hinges on the sides and grab handles in the middle for a quick makeover that makes your entry stand out.
  • Windows. Change out one of the upper panels. Multi-panel overhead garage doors can be tedious, but you can change out one of the top panels for one with windows or decorative trim to make your home distinct from your neighbors. If you can’t change out the panels, add faux windows to the front. You can find magnetic and stick-on versions at your local hardware and DIY stores and online.
  • Paint. Most contractor-grade garage doors come in white, off-white or beige tones. Make your stand out by giving it a darker hue. Choose a color that complements the shade of your home and stands out from the trim color.
  • Faux finish. Another option that requires a little practice is to put a wood-grain finish on the door. From the street, your home will appear to have expensive wood doors. Finish off with sparkling hardware, and you’ve got instant interest. Talk to your local specialty paint store for advice on using gel stains and faux finished that can hold up to the use your garage door gets. If you’re not sure about tackling this project yourself, hire a professional garage-door contractor that has the know-how to get it done for you.
  • Reface your garage door with wood veneer. Glue or screw (or both) wood veneer to your door’s exterior to give it an upgraded look. Go vertical for a Mid-Century Modern vibe, or horizontal with wrought-iron hardware for a traditionally carriage-house look. Garage door openers and springs work in tandem with the weight of the garage door. So, make sure you have a strong enough system to handle the extra weight.

If you’re not sure how to do any of these on your own, ask your realtor for recommendations for local contractors that know to give you a look you want.




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